In a time when the Word of God is tempted to be diluted, nothing like the pure milk and meat of the Word to set us free. This little teaching was one of my first. I compiled these scriptures in the year 2000.
John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me( experientially through relationship, intimacy, and time spent with the Lord.) , even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
17Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again
The more intimacy we have with Jesus, the more that the Father will need us to lay down our lives at the foot of the cross, so that we make take it up in the power and freedom of God. Intimacy brings us to a place where God can trust us with His power.
Phi 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself (Voluntary humiliation. A once and for all decisive act that must be constantly carried out as a responsibility of the person himself or herself.) and became obedient unto ( until) death, even the death of the cross
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
The more that we humble ourselves with the Lord at the foot of the cross, the more that we will be exalted to the highest place of rank and power with Christ. Christ was extolled most highly. He acquired supremacy in title and nobility. We are in Him and will be raised up in accordance with our obedience.
Heb 1:9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness (exultation and extreme joy) above thy fellows.
Extreme joy and happiness from being free in the Lord comes through obedience in the love of righteousness and the hatred of evil.
Gal 6:14 But God forbid (May it never happen to me) that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, ( The effect of the world on Paul is nothing; it is dead to Him.
It stands crucified to him, and its effects on Paul will never change, they are permanent. It is a past action with permanent results. This is the meaning of the perfect tense in which this verb is found.) And I unto the world.
Gal6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth(inward strength and force, to have strength to overcome health, ability, capacity) any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Only Christ being formed and birthed in us is of any capacity or ability for us to overcome and get the victory.
16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
2Cor 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
We don’t look at men in a fleshly way anymore.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. The old things passed by.
Only the new manifested creation that is Christ Jesus in us, the hope of glory, can cause all the old sins and hurts to pass by. This is why Paul cried out in the following verse!
Ga 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,(as a baby being formed in the womb)
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed( don’t take on the outward form or fashion of the world by a disobedient walk with the Lord) to this world: but be ye transformed( metamorphosis; or attain to a complete and radical inward change and becoming a totally different individual) by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove( only when we are radically changed can we then test, approve and possess for ourselves the mature, well pleasing, and good will of God) what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
“Metamorphosis”. Remember the example of the lowly caterpillar being transformed into the beautiful butterfly. Metamorphosis? What about the tadpole being transformed into a frog? Total and radical change! Guess what? That is exactly what the Lord wants out of our lives. The death of ourselves on the cross and the resurrection life of our Lord within us should be so extraordinary, that indeed we all become lovely and free butterflies for His glory. Unrecognizable as a tadpole is from a frog because Jesus lives so big in us, should find us with no former remembrance of our “tadpolish” existence. At least that should be our goal!)
Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring (always agonizing in an athletic struggle, fervently) for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
1) Brought to a place of spiritual maturity in every aspect of our lives; and having a full assurance and understanding of everything that God has willed for our lives. 2) Knowing and understanding every aspect of what God has called us to do and willed for us, and perform it with all spiritual maturity) 3)To the limit of the very maturity of Christ’s character so that we can fulfill every aspect of Christ will through it.
Mt 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Reach the same stage of maturity as the Father is in possession of every aspect of our lives. This is the Father’s perfect will.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Much inward strength and capacity has the prayers of a righteous man to show itself efficient, active, capable and full of energy possessing everything that the Father has willed.
Philippians 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness,( As Christ is magnified and made great in his life, the power of God within Paul brings much freedom to him.
Paul can live out the gospel in confidence, candor, fearlessness and honesty, unhindered in every way.) as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body), whether it be by life, or by death.
The Apostle Paul’s desire was to take his life and use it as a magnifying glass that would make Jesus Christ great. His expectation is one of stretching out his head to be able to anxiously see this process becoming a reality in his life.
Phillip 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out(Utterly accomplish, finish and achieve to completion everything that has to do with your salvation. Utterly finish it! Do not leave anything lacking! Therefore growing up into Christ in all things.)
Matt 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
(To have real weight or clout with Jesus. The word for love in this scripture is affection for Jesus above that of anything else. Having a greater affection for anything in this life makes a believer unfit and unprepared to follow Jesus. He is unable to adequately respond to the life and the call of Jesus. There will be a lack of balance between the believer and Jesus himself. He will not deserve Jesus.)
Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
A life so in tune to the Lord and seeking God’s face so abundantly that Paul can preach the “past finding out” riches. The riches of Christ are undetectable and fathomless. This is because the life of Christ is hidden in us. These undetected riches are manifested only by Christ’s revelation in a life so yielded and pure so that Christ Himself can be seen.
The Christ Himself and the kingdom of God, lies in secret, in the form of a mystery that must be revealed, it cannot be seen. Paul’s prayer is that through his life and ministry, all believers’ could be enlightened in their understanding, about what their participation and share in these hidden treasures and mysteries is.
Luke 5:10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
These disciples literally sent off, gave up, left all. It is an attitude of the heart. To follow Jesus is to follow Him and live the same life, which He lives. It means to travel with Him on the same path that He travels on. It is symbolic of an exterior call, but with an absolute commitment to one exclusive Master, Jesus, whether by life and even by death, if necessary. The believer participates not only not only in salvation but in suffering as well.
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
If any man or woman wishes to come after Jesus then he or she are commanded by Jesus to lose all connection with themselves and any interests outside of the Christ.
We see that Jesus commands His disciples to “Follow Him” in the above scripture. He chose this word very carefully. This particular injunction appears 77 times in the New Testament. In actuality the word “follow” is defined as a union in traveling the same road. It is an oneness with the pattern of Jesus’ life, His ministry, and even of His death, if necessary.
This is why the apostle Paul said, “Be a mimic of me, even as I am also a mimic of Christ “as found in
1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers <3402> of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Secondly, is the concept of “denial”. This is our “once and for all confession” that we have no connection with ourselves and our interests outside of those of Christ.
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny <533> himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Matthew 26:34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny <533> me thrice. Look at the illustration of Peter’s denial of Jesus in comparison to Jesus’ command to deny ourselves. As you will notice, it is exactly the same word! Can you imagine how vehemently Peter with every fiber and atom in his body angrily disavowed that he knew, or had any relationship with the Master? This should be our same attitude in denying ourselves for the sake of our Lord?
Thirdly is the notion of “forsaking”. This is the act of our bidding farewell to, and renouncing all that will not glorify God. Next, please turn your attention to the three scriptures below. Once again you will see that they are all from the same Greek word, Strong’s # 657. Please meditate on them and get a sense for what Jesus proposal of “forsaking all” really means.
Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh <657> not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
If we are not separated and set apart from all that we have in our hearts for the sake of Christ, we will not have the dunamis to be a learner of Jesus. We must take leave of, or bid farewell renounce an all that is not the Lord.
Fourth is the notion of “our ability to be a disciple”.
Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot <1410> be my disciple.
Luke 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot <1410> be my disciple.
Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot <1410> be my disciple.
If you notice, I highlighted the word “cannot”, Strong’s # 1410. The root of this word is the word “dunamis”. We all know that dunamis is the dynamite power of God, that we as believers seek to obtain. In addition dunamis is an enabling power.
God’s dunamis enables the casting out of demons and the operation of spiritual gifts. These scriptures tell us that the Christian who does not bear the cross, forsake all that he has, and put his family and his life behind the Lord, will not have the “dunamis “ or the enabling power to be a disciple of our Lord. The inherent power that He needs to change will not be there. The “cannot” is also constructed in a fancy grammatical phrase called an “absolute negative”. Simply expressed it tells us that “under no circumstances”, or, “Never”, or, “it is impossible” for the Christian who is not willing to do these things to ever be disciple of Jesus. Whew!! I have included two other scriptures with the same Strong’s #1410 for your further understanding and feeling of this word.
The culmination of God’s power is only given to disciples.
Matthew 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
The culmination of ministry belongs to disciples.
Matthew 14:19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
Completion in maturity and character is only found in disciples.
Luke 6:40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
The place of intimacy with the Lord is only given to disciples.
John 21:20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth
Mat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
He that comes upon, hits upon, and holds on to his own selfish life for his selfish gain, shall bring himself to ruin, destruction, uselessness and misery through his corrupted self. He that ruins, destroys, and wastes away his sinful existence for the sake of the Lord shall discover, recognize, acquire and procure life from the Lord for himself.
2Cor 12:15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. I will very gladly incur personal expense for your Christian well-being. I will pour my very soul out for your progress in the faith. I will exhaust myself by spending and using myself up for your spiritual maturing in Christ.
Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
I persecute, pursue, and overtake, in hope that I can grasp, seize, and make my own, all of what is contained in what Christ originally grasped and seized me for.
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Therefore I neglect and no longer care for what is behind me. I stretch myself out and towards, and run swiftly after what is before me. The direction being, the mark of the goal of the high price of unbroken fellowship of Christ’s resurrection life, and the hope of His calling for me.
1Cor 9:24 Know ye not that they which run (to run and spend my strength in attaining to something) in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.(to posses and make my own. Jesus said that He glorified the Father by completing all that the Father had placed before Him to do.
25and every man that striveth for the mastery (the agony of athletic competition) is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
Our Christian lives should abide in the exhilarating agony of strenuous athletic discipline. If we are experiencing boredom as believers, we are missing out on part of Christ’s destiny for us. Every great work of God has been executed on bended knees. Every great work of God takes between one to five hours of prayer daily.
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
Our faith must contain a clear perception of God’s vision for our lives. “Without a vision the people perish.” We must not walk obscurely, as those who do not know the voice of God. We must not trash the air aimlessly with those things that Christ has not called us to, no matter how noble or praiseworthy they might be. Our time must not be wasted by the missed discernment of God’s will; too much is at stake! Our punch must be sure; we must strike straight and not spare.
27 But I keep under my body (To beat the body black and blue, or get a black eye), and bring it into subjection (make my body a slave to the Spirit of God) lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway . The love of God and the love of the world are opposed to each other. Either you love one or love the other. What the world values, Christ abhors
Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
Of no account do I make my life or hold my life in honor, so that I may complete my course on the horse track on which I am racing upon with joy, and the ministry that I received from the Lord to testify fully and thoroughly of the glad tidings of the grace of God.